CAIRO: Egypt reported eight new cases of the H1N1 virus on Wednesday and Thursday, raising the total number of cases in the country to 48.
According to Abdel Rahman Shahin, media spokesman of the Ministry of Health, on Thursday two British women, an Egyptian-American man and a four-year-old Egyptian-American girl who recently arrived from the United States, all tested positive for H1N1.
On Wednesday four new cases surfaced including a 34-year-old British man who arrived to Sharm El-Sheikh this week, a 28-year-old Egyptian man who arrived from Saudi Arabia, a five-year-old Egyptian-American boy who arrived from the United States and his 10-year-old brother.
By press time, the total number of recovered cases reached 31 while 17 are still undergoing treatment in hospitals in Cairo, Sharm El-Sheikh and Alexandria.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday, Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garranah said Egypt is not planning on canceling Umrah pilgrimages to Mecca because of the H1N1 virus unless Saudi Arabia takes the initiative.
Muslims prefer to go on Umrah in the months before and through Ramadan, which begins late August this year.
A few weeks ago, Minister of Health Hatem El-Gabaly expressed concern regarding Umrah trips, saying that mass gatherings will help spread the disease.
Last week, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa agreed with El-Gabaly’s request to cancel or postpone any plans for Umrah this summer after H1N1 was declared a global pandemic.
However, Gomaa said that other health ministries and the World Health Organization (WHO) should be involved in this decision.
Religious authorities in Kuwait and Dubai agreed that it is acceptable to cancel Umrah and Hajj trips this year because of the H1N1 virus.
Tunisia has suspended all Umrah trips after it reported its third case on Thursday.
By press time, Morocco had reported 13 cases in total and Saudi Arabia reported three new cases raising its total number of cases to 48. Jordan also reported a total of 13 cases.
By Wednesday, the West Bank had reported its second case.
Since Monday, 3,707 new cases were reported worldwide, including seven new deaths, according to Al-Jazeera news channel.
According to the BBC, the total number of H1N1 virus cases reached 56,000 including 238 deaths in 159 countries.